Saturday, September 15, 2012

Little Habits

"We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit."
             -- Artistotle

Although I'm not a big fan of classical antiquity, I think he's got this one pegged.  I can do something well, but for me to really be excellent at something I do, I need to do it over and over again and perfect it.  Additionally, when I get in the habit of small routines, it enhances my overall performance.

It always takes me a while to settle into a routine.  For example, it's taken me over a month to get into a comfortable routine with my job.  I still need to tweak it (clearly), but I'm kind of proud of what I've established so far.  I managed to get up and out of the house by 7 AM or a little earlier.

That's my big accomplishment.  Wooooot.

When I get out of the house that early, I have way more time in which to start my day and I have a little bit of solitary leisure time to rewrite my whiteboards, reorganize my papers, put in some grades, and help any student who might decide to stop by for tutoring.

This routine has helped me so much this past week.  I sent out progress reports on Friday and then this week there was a test on Tuesday.  Thus, this week has been crazy!  I've had a bunch of parent meetings, staff meetings, and plenty of homework that I have been dutifully ignoring, mostly because I knew that this weekend we had no plans and no houseguests.  I kind of saved all my major work for this weekend, but I'm still pretty caught up with everything.

This week has also been a big week for seeing my students and their parents outside of school.  I saw one of my kids' mother at our nearby Starbucks (inside Safeway -- we're so cool here in Flagstaff).  I saw one of my kids playing in Heritage Square last night, and when I went to the library yesterday afternoon I not only saw another one of my kids and her dad, but her dad and I sat down because he had some things he wanted to speak with me about and believe you me, it was much easier than scheduling a conference, if not as kosher.  All these experiences this week have reinforced the idea that I am pretty free to do what I want (I don't do anything really risque to begin with), but I have begun being careful of what music I play when I have the windows down and what I say whilst in traffic altercations.  It occurs to me that they're everywhere and I need to set a good example everywhere.  This is excellent practice for parenthood.  Lawsy that sounds so dorky and boring.  But it's true!

And speaking of the library, it was HOPPING on Friday.  Despite that, I could only find one book I really, really wanted.  And even then, not sure if I'm going to actually get around to reading it or not.  However, I did just finish a grown-up novel for my newly-joined grown-up book club (yay!) and have plans for several others.  I have checked out several ebooks by Tony Hillerman (Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, anyone?) and am genuinely thinking about starting and chipping away at Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville.

Because I'm just that nerdy.  Oh yeah.  Honestly, reading every day or every week is a habit as well.  I've been getting in bad habits at home of coming home, changing into something comfy, and then sitting in front of the TV until bedtime.  That's bad.  I mean, yes, we have discovered Parks and Recreation and it's AWESOME, but at the same time, I really need to be doing something productive with my time instead of rotting my brain away every night.  Hence the books.  If I can sit down and read for half an hour every night and get in the habit, I would feel so much better about myself and my life.  Plus, my cousin bought me a gift certificate to Bookman's, so I've been getting way too excited about buying fun books recently.

All in all, good habits actually are important!  Who knew!

Okay, Aristotle knew, BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It's September Already!

I have a feeling this is how many of these blogs posts are going to go for the rest of this year.  Time is literally flying by.  I am very grateful.  The week doesn't seem that long when it speeds along like it has been.  I am wonderfully busy, but not so busy I feel like I can't take a breath.

Well, okay, maybe not always.  I got sick toward the end of last week (right when my laptop got a wee bit fried and my students turned in a BUNCH of stuff), so basically I've been playing catch-up all week.  However, because I've been sort of lax on them because of that this week, so I only have some basic worksheets to grade this weekend, plus it was a 3-day weekend.

With all that in mind, I decided to finally sit down and read a fun book this weekend.  Either it was an easy book or I was really excited to be reading it (I'm gonna go with really easy) because I finished it in only two sittings.  You won't be surprised anymore when you hear what it was: How to Train Your Dragon.

When I finished it, I decided to write down all the rest of the books I've been reading this summer.  I have a little book where I make sure I keep a record of all of them.  So far, this year, I've read 49 books.  This is only ONE book away from my goal for the year!  Last year, I struggled to make my goal.  I was still burnt out on school and I just couldn't seem to get my head in the game.  This year, I'm really trying to make up for lost time and learning and really read read read read.

And, extra good news, I got invited to participate in a book club!  I've only ever been in one book club before, and I must confess that I didn't actually read those books.  We read all Jane Austen, all the time, and I'd read them all before, so since I had a really tough semester, I sort of fudged a little.  Not this time, baby.  I am way too excited for this book club.

In other news, Board Game Club has it's second week this upcoming Thursday.  I am in charge of word games, and this week I am bringing Scrabble, Scrabble Slam, Apples to Apples, and Bananagrams.  That means that fun is definitely in store for this week!

So keep hanging cool.